Building the Yurt Platform #2: Insulation & Flooring

We’d spent 12 hours on a Saturday in April leveling the site, laying the cinder blocks, and building the frame for the yurt platform. (If you didn’t read the first post on this, check it out here.)

Our task for Sunday, our second and final build day, was simple — finish the platform by dark. This task was also a bit daunting, considering the amount of work left to be done. But the yurt was to be delivered that Friday and, with both Annie and me working full-time jobs at that point, our deadline was a strict one. So we got an early breakfast at the Chelsea Royale Diner in West Brattleboro, Vermont, and then got at it.

TLDR: Watch the timelapses scattered below. Key takeaways? Friends are the best and installing tongue & groove flooring takes forever.

Insulation

The first step was insulating the floor of the yurt. We opted to use Roxul, a thick mineral wool insulation with high R-value (and low flammability) sized for the 6” joists. We had considered putting thin plywood or OSB underneath the platform to hold the insulation up, but that seemed unnecessarily expensive. We’d heard of some people using Tyvek sheets draped over the joists to hold the insulation. Tyvek, too, is not cheap, so we got creative. We chose to use landscaping “fabric” (that persistent plastic sometimes called weed blocker), draped in the way described.

The photo below shows this process in-progress. While one person could do it, having a two-person team (and an audience) let us find a good groove, unrolling, stapling, unrolling, stapling, and on and on, up one row of joists and down the next. Note in the photo that we decided to add more blocking — after the fabric was stapled so that we didn’t have to cut the fabric, which was the correct size to fill the space between joists.

Insulating the yurt platform/floor

Once we had draped and stapled all the fabric, we started to cut and place the batts of Roxul insulation, which cut quite easily with a handsaw. This, probably, was the easiest step of the day, snugly fitting these light, throat-scratching pillows into place to keep our yurt toes warm.

insulating the yurt platform floor

Plywood Subfloor

Well, I lied.

The easiest step was installing the plywood subfloor, which, after laying them out, only required cutting two of the sheets at the end because of how we off-set them. We screwed them down with deck screws.

Lunch

Then lunch break on the almost-yurt floor and jealous dogs! (Okay, fine, we broke for lunch before screwing all the sheets down.)

lunch break from insulating the yurt platform floor

Pine Flooring

Back at it, the plywood all screwed in, it was time to start the flooring. We’d bought and had delivered 1×6″ tongue & groove pine flooring (for about $550 total from The Pine Outlet in New Hampshire — super nice guys). This task was tedious and required immense patience — Annie, in fact, hated it and used this time to build a front yurt-porch with our friend Emily, while Kevin and Taylor worked on the floor.

We used hidden deck screws for this — highly recommended, especially for a light wood unless you’re going for a rustic look, perhaps. The boards were delivered in 16′ lengths and our approach was to attempt to randomize the layout. We kept a number of the 16′ boards as is, and cut the rest in 4′, 6′, and 8′ lengths, puzzling them together as we went.

Cutting the Circle

After the hours of yurt-floor-laying and yurt-porch-building (note the lowering afternoon sun in the timelapse above), all that was left was cutting the circle. After using a screw to mark the exact center of the platform, we used a 10′ wire — wrapped around the screw at one end and a pencil at the other — and traced out the circle. We did this twice to make sure. Spoiler: our platform still came out to a 20’2″ diameter (which was somehow the result of the frame and foundations itself, not the wire measuring — we still have no idea what happened…).

With dark looming, we circled up.

We did it! And we were freaking exhausted. This day, too, had turned into 12 hours of work. Teamwork!

proud of the finished yurt platform

finally done with the yurt platform

finished yurt platform!

And again, we couldn’t have accomplished this without Emily and Taylor (pictured extensively…), who stuck with us for all 24 hours of chilly springtime sun.

Lessons & Thoughts

  • Build in breaks for yourself: It’s easy to get in a flow state and not take a break, and then wonder why you’re so exhausted and cranky. Schedule them if you need to, by time or by milestone.
  • Flooring is worth it: Though Kevin tends to push for the cheaper, function over fashion options, Annie was right here to invest in nice flooring. It’s what you’ll be walking on, living on, and looking at every day. Also, T&G or shiplap will help keep any draft down. And since it’s such a small space…
  • Hardwood: Were we to do it again, we might choose hardwood instead of pine. Dog toenails are brutal. We’d at least consider it.